SPRINGFIELD – An effort in Illinois to prevent biannual clock changes – such as the one Sunday moving time forward one hour – appears stalled.
The state Senate passed a bill in November by Bunker Hill Democrat Andy Manar that calls for setting clocks ahead one hour to daylight saving time on Sunday and leaving Illinois permanently on Central Daylight Time. But that bill remains in legislative limbo in the House, and even if Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs the initiative into law, it could not take effect unless approved by the federal government.
Hawaii and Arizona are the only states granted with such waivers to abolish biannual time changes. The tropical territories of Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands opted out of time changes as well.
“This doesn’t seek [a waiver]. This just says one of two things should happen: There should be a national change or, if Congress were to begin to give states exemptions, that obviously would be a different conversation here on this floor,” Manar said in November. “This doesn’t say that we should ignore federal law.”
Manar declined to comment on this story.
A spokesperson for Amtrak told Capitol News Illinois in November the current system of twice-yearly time shifts causes some inconvenience for the railroad, particularly in November when clocks are set back one hour. It forces trains running around 2 a.m. that Sunday to stop for one hour and allow clocks to catch up to the train schedule.
The idea for the initiative came to Manar from a Carlinville High School student, he said in a tweet. The senator also pointed to a Newsweek article that references research suggesting biannual time changes in the U.S. could have detrimental health impacts.
Arizona State University history professor Calvin Schermerhorn said in an interview in October that the Grand Canyon State does not observe daylight savings time due to its brutally hot summer days. Remaining on standard time in the summer means cooler temperatures when people get off work and children leave school.
Other than that, “not having daylight saving is kind of a hassle,” Schermerhorn said, “because half the year we’re on the equivalent of Pacific Time and half the year we’re on Mountain Time.”
The measure is Senate Bill 533. Republican Rep. Allen Skillicorn, from East Dundee, is the House sponsor. He said time changes should be eliminated because they disrupt sleep patterns.
“There is no question that changing our clocks twice per year messes with our daily routines,” he said in a statement.